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 Mobile GIS & LBS
Matt Sheehan
Matt Sheehan
Matt holds an MSc in Geography and GIS. He has been working with clients solving problems with GIS for over 17 years. Matt founded WebMapSolutions whose mission is to put innovative, intuitive GIS driven applications into the hands of new and existing users.

Engineering Companies are Excited about GIS

October 22nd, 2013 by Matt Sheehan

If the recent requests we have received for GIS development and knowledge help are anything to go by; engineering companies are excited about GIS. The project needs have been many and varied from GIS support and data services to Web and mobile development. More evidence we think of the widening interest in GIS; from GIS pros to now ever more non-GIS professionals.

Here is a short list of some of these needs:

Mobile GIS Planned Pipeline Visualization

“We are an engineering company who design pipelines. A key part of this work is involving property owners in the process. Driving and walking along the planned pipeline route with these individuals is important. The one thing we lack currently is the ability to visualize the planned pipeline. An iPad with pipeline and related feature overlays would be a huge help.”

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GIS Has Never Been More Affordable

October 14th, 2013 by Matt Sheehan

GIS was once a technology used only by those with the deepest pockets. Today things have begun to change. In this post we will discuss 3 ways GIS is now more affordable, for big and small organization alike.

Low Cost Web and Mobile GIS Apps

Go back a few years and the cost of Web and mobile GIS apps was sky high; $20,000, $30,000 … And that was just for the application, add ArcGIS server or equivalent to the mix and costs could easily push north of $50,000. Today all that has changed. Web and mobile applications are now easier to build. The emphasis has been on simpler, more intuitive GIS apps. Those built to provide a specific purpose, maybe data collection, map annotation, dashboard or routing. Gone are the days of bloated expensive applications loaded with tools. There are now many free apps available. Esri’s mobile Collector app is one example. In addition many basic application frameworks have been released which can be extended. No more reinventing the wheel. At WebMapSolutions we have been extending our own and others frameworks to simplify and reduce the cost of Web and mobile application development. Read the rest of GIS Has Never Been More Affordable

3 Powerful New Ways to Apply GIS

October 10th, 2013 by Matt Sheehan

Geographic Information Systems or GIS has entered a new and exciting phase in its evolution. In this blog post we discuss 3 powerful new ways to apply GIS technology.

Consumer Discovery GIS Apps

Gone are the days when GIS only served power geo-users. Today consumer apps are being built which use GIS. Maps are a perfect and intuitive way to discover information. An example might be providing moms a simple way to discover local parks for their kids. A GIS powered Parks Finder mapping app is the perfect answer.

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5 Point Checklist for any GIS Web or Mobile Project

October 7th, 2013 by Matt Sheehan

Its daunting starting any GIS Web or Mobile project. Where does one begin? In this post we provide a 5 point checklist for any GIS Web or mobile project.

1. Project Requirements

Do you have a clear idea of what the app should do? A detailed list of requirements is essential. If you are still in the ideas phase, flesh it out before you reach out to any external GIS development company. Be prepared to discuss in detail your requirements, and answer any questions posed by prospective development companies. Be clear to describe the purpose of the application. Read the rest of 5 Point Checklist for any GIS Web or Mobile Project

iStore versus ArcGIS MarketPlace

September 26th, 2013 by Matt Sheehan

There are many ways to market mobile apps. We Esri’s MarketPlace release new wanted to compare in this blog post the iStore versus ArcGIS MarketPlace for marketing and selling mobile apps.

We are a GIS focused development company. This is mapping technology in simple terms, or as we prefer to say location focused. GIS can be complex, often dealing with big data. Mobile and cloud technology have revolutionized the field, and are now widening the audience for GIS (routing, and mobile apps which show what or who is near somebody are two good examples of potential applications of the technology). A conundrum for companies like ours is how best to market the mobile apps we build, and provide trial versions of these apps. Sure the first choice might be the Android or Apple stores; maybe provide a watered down version of the app for free. Mistake. You will see many people downloading the app, but get little back. We have had an app in both stores for nearly two years now with over 40, 000 downloads. Apart for bragging rights – we launched the first ArcGIS Server and ArcGIS Online mobile apps in iStore- these apps have little benefited us.

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ArcGIS MarketPlace: A Big Hit

September 20th, 2013 by Matt Sheehan

This week Esri launched ArcGIS Marketplace; a one stop shop for ArcGIS focused applications. Finally users can discover mobile, Web and desktop GIS applications simply and easily. Esri have made the site intuitive, with excellent search capabilities and categories. Want a GIS application targeted at your industry or sector, ArcGIS Marketplace simplifies the discovery process.

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5 New Apps for Local Governments to Share Information

September 3rd, 2013 by Matt Sheehan

New advances in technology with cloud and mobile computing offer new and exciting ways for local governments to share information with the general public. WebMapSolutions have been developing a range of apps which run across devices, allowing citizens to discover local information quickly, and intuitively when and where they need it. Below are our favorite 5 new apps for local governments to share information:

Parks Finder
The Parks Finder application provides residents and visitors an easy way to find parks and recreation areas near them. Designed with ease of use in mind, search, routing and detailed facility information is provided. Advanced functionality includes the ability to gather comments from citizens on individual facilities.
See a demo here.

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New GIS Solutions for Disaster Management

August 26th, 2013 by Matt Sheehan

One of WebMapSolutions areas of focus is building systems which help to improve the management of disasters. As the frequency and impact of disasters increases, due to phenomena such as global warming, the need for improved tools and systems becomes ever greater. New technologies now available are greatly helping software companies such as WebMapSolutions develop mobile, centralized systems which are improving both disaster relief efforts and disaster recovery. Let’s look at some of the new GIS solutions for disaster management.

Disaster Relief

This is a coordinated multi-agency response to reduce the impact of a disaster and its long-term results. Relief activities include rescue, relocation, service repair, providing temporary shelter and emergency health care. Time is of the essence in this phase. Disaster agencies are both trying to understand the situation on the ground, and provide immediate assistance and relief to those in the affected area.

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Cloud GIS: Mobile Data Collection & Web App Development

August 6th, 2013 by Matt Sheehan

We have been interested for some time in using our offline mobile editing app in combination with Esri’s Mobile Collector App to build a storymap. This years Esri UC gave us the perfect opportunity to do just that. More than that our intrepid CEO – who was planning to be in San Diego – was up for the challenge. So we packed him off with instructions to visit two towns in the San Diego area and collect data.

Our goal was to build two storymaps which were focused on the military banners campaign that a number of cities have put in place. These campaigns involve hanging banners in key streets in the city honoring veterans of foreign wars. We chose Escondido and Chino Hills for this work; giving our CEO careful instructions.

We adapted one of the Esri storymaps for this task, following carefully the instructions for the data schema. Once ready we published two hosted feature services to ArcGIS Online; and created web maps for each. In the field our CEO logged into the respective web map with the collector app, and edited away. He moved from one banner to the next, taking photos and recording information about each honoree; notably the name and service. In a number of cases he found Wi-Fi connectivity spotty. In these cases he switched to using our offline mobile ArcGIS Online data editing app. And uploaded the results when back in Wi-Fi range.

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The Future of GIS is here Today: Mobile Enabled GIS Cloud Technology

July 25th, 2013 by Matt Sheehan

As we have discussed before in this blog, mobile enabled GIS cloud technology is are changing how and who uses GIS. As we suggest in the title of this blog the future of GIS is here today. Let’s take a step back and look at the current landscape.

Today’s GIS Requirements and Mobile Enabled GIS Cloud Technology

There are a range of core elements required by our clients which are now provided by leveraging the new technological advances. These include:

1) Centralised data – away from a stove pipe approach to data.
2) Privacy – protecting data remains important
3) Data access from any device – PC, laptop, smartphone and tablet accessibility.
4) Simple targeted applications – no more complex workflows and ‘swiss army knife’ type apps.

So what solutions are now available which leverage cloud technology and target location based data?

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